Shanghai was a semi-colonized city with areas called concessions. What is the meaning of “concessions” in this case, what were the two main concessions, and what kinds of privileges did the residents of the concessions have? Concessions were areas of land that colonizing countries took control of and made their own hub in the foreign country. The two main concessions were the French concession and the British concession. In the French concession, the French were a minority and were surrounded by Chinese. People went to the French concession for prostitution and for drugs. The French concession was also where the best boutiques, cafes, and houses were.
The British concession was a melting pot with over 50 different nationalities and had a strong social structure based on nationality. The people who lived in these concessions had rights almost equal to those from the colonizing country. In both these concessions, there was drug trade and making taking place. The European officials were both the policemen and the gangsters so the people were able to continue their drug trade.
Why can’t the US just recognize both Taiwan and China independently of each other? What is the status quo between China and Taiwan? Taiwan is known as the Peoples’ Republic of China or ‘the other China. China is rising and is everywhere on the news with politics, fashion, technology, and culture. Taiwan is getting lost in the rise of China. The US is part of the One China Policy which states that it can’t have relations with the Republic of China if it has relations with the Peoples’ Republic of China, making it hard to differentiate between the two. The US currently can’t have relations with Taiwan. However, the person to person integrations between China and Taiwan is growing. There are direct flights between countries, foreign studies, marriages, and religious pilgrimages which brings the tension down between the two. On the state level there is growing tension. What kinds of people were the base of support for the Nationalists and for the Communists? What is one of the main reasons that the Communists defeated the Nationalists in the Civil War of 1945-49?
The peasants and labors backed the Communists because as they acquired more land, they had more to fight for. They weren’t true Communists but they helped supply the military with food and labor. The Soviet Union also backed the Communists during the Civil War. The Nationalists were backed by the wealthy and landlords. Even with the help of the United States, the nationalists were losing. Chiang Kai-Shek made the mistake of overextending his forces and the Communists changed their tactics and mounted huge offensives against the Nationalists. After only a month and a half, the Communists won. Shadow Lines is, indirectly, about colonialism. In this essay, please discuss the following questions based on our discussion in class about colonialism and the families and characters. Put the various parts of your answer in separate paragraphs. ·
What is the significance of the two families that the book is about—what do they represent? · What is meant by the “upside down house” and why is it significant? · What kinds of people do these characters (Ila, Grandmother or Th’amma, Nick, and May) represent in terms of colonizers and colonized? Give examples of why you think so. The two families in this book represent the partition and colonialism of India because one is British and the other is Indian. Just like Britain and India, the two families have a strong relationship that isn’t always good. The families represent the conflict and political unrest that India and its colonizing country had with each other but also represents the two sides of India after partition.
Tha’mma, the grandmother from the Indian family, grew up in a household where the house was split in two by a wall because her father and uncle began arguing, which foreshadows the future of India. The two families end up intertwining lives because of a medical problem and they have to go to London. The families bring together personal and political history through memories that are woven together. Each of the families go through rough patches and are separated by divides just like when India was split. The upside-down house represents the power of borders and the opposing views that people tell about them. In a non-metaphorical way, the house also represents the grandmothers house because of the wall that divided it in half ever since she could remember.
When she was a kid, the grandmother was told that everyone on the other side of the house did everything upside-down. Just as some characters in the novel never travel, they begin to believe the stories they hear about places they’ve never been. Tridib tells the narrator all about London and other lands and tells him that what he can imagine in his head is just as good as going to the place itself. The grandmother also never makes it to the other side of India after partition, so she continues to believe that the people living on the other side are completely different than her when in fact they are similar and even family. Each of the characters unravel throughout the novel and the readers learn their personalities and can relate them back to either the colonizers or the colonized. Ila represents a colonizer because of the way she acts and dresses.
She is very Europeanized because she has lived all over the places, likes to party, and loves her personal freedom. She wants to do anything and everything and feels very restricted if she can’t. She’s a kind person but sometimes doesn’t think about her actions and words and how they can affect others. The grandmother represents the colonized because in her youth she wanted to be part of terrorist groups to help India gain independence from Britain and she was willing to die for her country. Throughout the novel, she distances herself from everyone and becomes independent, representing how she wants her country to be.
As a child, she saw a wall go up dividing her house so she’s very cautious about relationships, just as India is cautious about relationships with other countries. The grandmother was born in Dhaka which is on the other side of the line from where she is now and she can’t seem to grasp the fact that she can’t go back. She doesn’t understand why she can’t go back because there’s no physical border. Each of these characters have good and bad qualities just as both countries had their motives for what they did.
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